ST. LOUIS--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Dave Peacock, former Anheuser Busch President, and Dean VandeKamp, former Ernst & Young partner, are now equity partners in the St. Louis-based fast casual concept Crushed Red. Crushed Red is an emerging, artisan-fast chopped salad concept. This is Peacock and VandeKamp’s second investment in the food and beverage space after forming Vitaligent 18 months ago and acquiring 77 Jamba Juice locations on the West Coast.
“Partnering with Dave and Dean was a perfect fit for Crushed Red because of their wealth of experience with growing brands, their financial acumen, extensive resources, collaborative approach and their overall pedigree”
Founded in 2012, Crushed Red currently has six units operating with franchise agreements for two dozen more. Crushed Red’s menu offers artisan-crafted salads and pizzas as well as the option for guests to customize their own salads and pizzas from a myriad of fresh ingredients. Each salad is chopped-to-order while you wait in line, prepared using a mosaic of colorful ingredients, and organically dressed. The pizzas are built on the foundation of a whole-grain crust that was developed by Mike Marino, the former national director of baking operations for Panera Bread. The restaurants also place a high priority on producing little to no waste. Each location uses recyclable to-go boxes, reusable dishes, LED bulbs, composts and more.
“Partnering with Dave and Dean was a perfect fit for Crushed Red because of their wealth of experience with growing brands, their financial acumen, extensive resources, collaborative approach and their overall pedigree,” said Crushed Red co-founder and CEO Chris LaRocca. “Dave and Dean are our ideal partners, and together we will achieve Crushed Red’s mission to become the leading chopped salad concept in the fast casual industry.”
With this new equity partnership, Powell Kalish, who co-founded the brand with LaRocca, is moving to Chief Development Officer. He will be joining the corporate team full time and be tasked with real estate deals and developments as well as franchisee operations. “Dave and Dean understand our culture and brand, and share our passion for building our salad and pizza concept into a national brand,” said Kalish.
As part of the equity partnership, the Crushed Red headquarters will join Vitaligent at 190 Carondelet Plaza in Clayton, just a few blocks from the Clayton Crushed Red location.
“We like brands focused on the health and wellness macro-trend and Chris and Powell have built Crushed Red into a strong brand. We see Crushed Red moving quickly from a growing regional brand to a national player. The top-line is growing nicely and its economics are very attractive to franchisees. Our infrastructure will support their growth and give them the power to drive up unit-level profitability,” said VandeKamp.
“As a frequent diner at the local restaurant, I can attest to the high level of guest satisfaction,” added Peacock.
About Crushed Red Urban Bake & Chop Shop
Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Crushed Red is carving out a distinct niche in the fast casual restaurant segment dubbed “Artisan Fast.” Founded in 2012 by award-winning restaurateur Chris LaRocca and commercial real estate expert Powell Kalish, Crushed Red began franchising in 2014 and serves up chopped-to-order salads, artisan-crafted whole-grain pizzas, all-natural soups and savory appetizers in an elevated fast casual atmosphere. For more information about Crushed Red, including franchise opportunities, visit www.crushed-red.com.